Portal:Speculative Fiction
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Portal:Speculative Fiction
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Speculative fiction is an umbrella phrase encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts.

It has been around since humans began to speak. The earliest forms of speculative fiction were likely mythological tales told around the campfire. Speculative fiction deals with the "What if?" scenarios imagined by dreamers and thinkers worldwide. Journeys to other worlds through the vast reaches of distant space; magical quests to free worlds enslaved by terrible beings; malevolent supernatural powers seeking to increase their spheres of influence across multiple dimensions and times; all of these fall into the realm of speculative fiction.

Speculative fiction as a category ranges from ancient works to cutting edge, paradigm-changing, and neotraditional works of the 21st century. It can be recognized in works whose authors' intentions or the social contexts of the versions of stories they portrayed is now known. For example, Ancient Greek dramatists such as Euripides, whose play Medea (play) seemed to have offended Athenian audiences when he fictionally speculated that shamaness Medea killed her own children instead of their being killed by other Corinthians after her departure. The play Hippolytus, narratively introduced by Aphrodite, is suspected to have displeased contemporary audiences of the day because it portrayed Phaedra as too lusty.

In historiography, what is now called speculative fiction has previously been termed "historical invention", "historical fiction," and other similar names. It is extensively noted in the literary criticism of the works of William Shakespeare when he co-locates Athenian Duke Theseus and Amazonian Queen Hippolyta, English fairy Puck, and Roman god Cupid all together in the fairyland of its Merovingian Germanic sovereign Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In mythography it has been termed "mythopoesis" or mythopoeia, "fictional speculation", the creative design and generation of lore, regarding such works as J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Such supernatural, alternate history, and sexuality themes continue in works produced within the modern speculative fiction genre.

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Selected profile

Butler signing a copy of Fledgling in October 2005

Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 - February 24, 2006) was an American science fiction author. A multiple recipient of both the Hugo and Nebula awards, she became in 1995 the first science-fiction writer to receive a MacArthur Fellowship.

Born in Pasadena, California, Butler was raised by her widowed mother. Extremely shy as a child, Butler found an outlet at the library reading fantasy, and in writing. She began writing science fiction as a teenager. She attended community college during the Black Power movement, and while participating in a local writer's workshop was encouraged to attend the Clarion Workshop, which focused on science fiction. (Full article...)

Selected work

Final Fantasy Tactics is a tactical role-playing game developed and published by Squaresoft (later changed to Square and now Square Enix) for the Sony PlayStation video game console. Released in Japan in June 1997 and in the United States in January 1998, it is the first game of the Final Fantasy Tactics series. The game combines thematic elements of the Final Fantasy video game series with a game engine and battle system unlike those previously seen in the franchise. In contrast to other 32-bit era Final Fantasy titles, Final Fantasy Tactics uses a 3D, isometric, rotatable playing field, with bitmap sprite characters.

Final Fantasy Tactics is set in a fictional medieval-inspired kingdom called Ivalice, created by Yasumi Matsuno. The game's story follows Ramza Beoulve, a highborn cadet who finds himself thrust into the middle of an intricate military conflict known as The Lion War, where two opposing noble factions are coveting the throne of the kingdom. As the story progresses, Ramza and his allies discover a sinister plot behind the war. (Full article...)

Selected quote


--T. O'Conor Sloane (1851-1940), "Discussions" Amazing Stories (January 1927). This quote is notable for being the first "modern use" of the term science fiction.[1]
  1. ^ Westfahl, Gary. Science Fiction Quotations. Yale University Press. 2005.
More quotes from Wikiquote: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history

Selected article

First issue of Amazing Stories, dated April 1926, cover art by Frank R. Paul

Science-fiction and fantasy magazines began to be published in the United States in the 1920s. Stories with science-fiction themes had been appearing for decades in pulp magazines such as Argosy, but there were no magazines that specialized in a single genre until 1915, when Street & Smith, one of the major pulp publishers, brought out Detective Story Magazine. The first magazine to focus solely on fantasy and horror was Weird Tales, which was launched in 1923, and established itself as the leading weird fiction magazine over the next two decades; writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard became regular contributors. In 1926 Weird Tales was joined by Amazing Stories, published by Hugo Gernsback; Amazing printed only science fiction, and no fantasy. Gernsback included a letter column in Amazing Stories, and this led to the creation of organized science-fiction fandom, as fans contacted each other using the addresses published with the letters. Gernsback wanted the fiction he printed to be scientifically accurate, and educational, as well as entertaining, but found it difficult to obtain stories that met his goals; he printed "The Moon Pool" by Abraham Merritt in 1927, despite it being completely unscientific. Gernsback lost control of Amazing Stories in 1929, but quickly started several new magazines. Wonder Stories, one of Gernsback's titles, was edited by David Lasser, who worked to improve the quality of the fiction he received. Another early competitor was Astounding Stories of Super-Science, which appeared in 1930, edited by Harry Bates, but Bates printed only the most basic adventure stories with minimal scientific content, and little of the material from his era is now remembered.

In 1933 Astounding was acquired by Street & Smith, and it soon became the leading magazine in the new genre, publishing early classics such as Murray Leinster's "Sidewise in Time" in 1934. A couple of competitors to Weird Tales for fantasy and weird fiction appeared, but none lasted, and the 1930s is regarded as Weird Tales' heyday. Between 1939 and 1941 there was a boom in science-fiction and fantasy magazines: several publishers entered the field, including Standard Magazines, with Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories (a retitling of Wonder Stories); Popular Publications, with Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories; and Fiction House, with Planet Stories, which focused on melodramatic tales of interplanetary adventure. Ziff-Davis launched Fantastic Adventures, a fantasy companion to Amazing. Astounding extended its pre-eminence in the field during the boom: the editor, John W. Campbell, developed a stable of young writers that included Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and A.E. van Vogt. The period starting in 1938, when Campbell took control of Astounding, is often referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Well-known stories from this era include Slan, by van Vogt, and "Nightfall", by Asimov. Campbell also launched Unknown, a fantasy companion to Astounding, in 1939; this was the first serious competitor for Weird Tales. Although wartime paper shortages forced Unknown's cancellation in 1943, it is now regarded as one of the most influential pulp magazines. (Full article...)

Selected media

Dalí Atomicus
Credit: Photo credit: Philippe Halsman

This photograph, entitled Dalí Atomicus, explores the idea of suspension, depicting three cats flying, a bucket of thrown water, and Salvador Dalí in mid air. The title of the photograph is a reference to Dalí's work Leda Atomica which can be seen in the right of the photograph behind the two cats. This is an early unretouched version where the suspension wires are still visible. (POTD)

Did you know...

Thrill the World 2008 in Austin, Texas

  • ... that before beginning a career in animation, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh worked as a vice president of sales and marketing for a computer company, where he "freaked out" and decided to quit?

On this day...

April 13:

Book releases

Film releases

Television series

Births

  • 1943 - Bill Pronzini, an American writer of detective fiction, and an active anthologist of mystery, western, and science fiction short stories
  • 1948 - Jonathan Fast, an American author and social work teacher
  • 1952 - Erick Avari, an Indian American television, film and theater actor best known for his roles in various science-fiction serial productions
  • 1954 - Michael Cassutt, an American television producer, screenwriter, and author known for his many contributions to science fiction television series
  • 1957 - Chuck Pfarrer, an American novelist and screenwriter

Deaths

  • 2005 - Juan Zanotto (b. 1935), an Italian-born Argentine comic book artist known for his work as artist of the science fiction comic Bárbara


Possible futures

Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:

  • The EVE Gate, a natural wormhole leading to New Eden, collapses in 8061.
  • In 802,701, The Time Traveller encounters a garden world and sees Humanity has divided into the meek Eloi on the surface and the subdwelling, cannibalistic Morlocks.

Upcoming conventions

April:

May:

Dates can usually be found on the article page.


See also these convention lists: anime, comic book, furry, gaming, multigenre, and science fiction.

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Media: Animation · Anime and manga · Comics · Films (list· Games (board · role-playing · video· Literature (magazines (pulp· novels · poetry · stories· Opera · Radio · Television (films · list · sitcoms· Theatre
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History: Films · Golden Age · New Wave · Scientific romance
Related genres: Fantasy (Science fantasy· Mystery · Horror · Slipstream ·  · Superhero
Themes: Artificial intelligence · Extraterrestrials (First contact·  · Hyperspace ·  ·  · Politics (Libertarian · Utopia/Dystopia · World government· Religion (Christian · ideas·  · Sex (Feminist · gender · homosexuality · reproduction·  · Slipstream · (weapons· Stock characters · Superpowers · Timeline (Alternate future · Future history · Parallel universes · )
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By country: Australia · Bangladesh · Canada · China · Croatia · Czech Republic · France · Japan · Norway · Poland · Romania · Russia/Soviet Union · Serbia · Spain

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Subgenres: Body · Comedy (list · zombie comedy· Dark fantasy · Dark romanticism · Ero guro · Erotic · Ghost · Gothic · J-Horror · K-Horror · Lovecraftian · Monsters (Frankenstein · vampire · werewolf· Occult detective · Psychological · Religious (film) · Sci-fi (film) · Slasher (film) · Splatter/Gore (film) · Supernatural · Survival · Weird menace · Weird West · Zombie apocalypse
Related genres: Crime · Mystery · Speculative · Thriller
Others: Awards · Conventions · LGBT · Writers

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Learning resources

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The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Study Guides
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database



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